Falcons to be exported to UAE as goodwill gesture, IHC informed

Published January 23, 2021
Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Syed Mohammad Tayyab on Friday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that Pakistan had issued permit to the UAE government for export of falcons as part of goodwill and friendly gesture. — AP/File
Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Syed Mohammad Tayyab on Friday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that Pakistan had issued permit to the UAE government for export of falcons as part of goodwill and friendly gesture. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Syed Mohammad Tayyab on Friday informed the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that Pakistan had issued permit to the UAE government for export of falcons as part of goodwill and friendly gesture.

He was responding to a petition filed by former Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) chairperson Dr Anisur Rehman against issuance of permit for the export of 150 falcons to Dubai.

The federal government has reportedly issued special permit to Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum for the export of 150 rare falcons from Pakistan to Dubai during 2019-20.

IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah was hearing the petition. He asked the DAG to satisfy the court on export of the falcons.

The DAG told the court that the UAE government had sent a written request for falcons and Pakistani government gifted it to the friendly country in order to strengthen brotherly relations and in the larger national interest.

He said it was not a commercial activity.

Counsel for the petitioner adopted before the court that the government had not been empowered to grant permit or permission for export of falcons.

The counsel said falcons had been declared endangered species. Grant of permission is in violation of Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Act 2012, besides the law highlighted in the judgment of the IHC of May 21, 2020 in which the court had ordered relocation of miserably detained animals to the natural habitat.

On court’s query, an official of the ministry of climate change told the court that import of falcons had been banned since 2005.

Justice Minallah observed that the government had issued the permission prima facie in violation of the law adding that if this was indispensable, the government should have issued relaxation or amended the law beforehand.

IHC chief justice remarked that the government was bound to protect the endangered species and this matter might be sent to the federal cabinet.

The court extended the stay order against export of falcons till four weeks and adjourned the hearing.

Falcons are protected under various international nature conservation conventions, including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). Trade in falcons is banned under local wildlife protection laws.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021

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